Tonight’s poem, “Letter” by my dear friend and colleague Christa Forster, is the perfect encapsulation of what living with anxiety feels like — at least, to me. There’s a cascade of inevitable circumstances pooling into surreality: the inevitability of inconvenience, the disjointedness of misplaced boons, the intellectually sanguine yet emotionally miserable understanding of just how precarious every detail is.
Tonight I celebrate Christa and her poem and acknowledge that I’m not sure how I’d make it through a school year without her.
It’s winter. I’m sick, naturally.
A kind salesman tried to sell me a kumquat,
but I don’t think he arrived in time because
there’s a war on, eking out another champion.
The mothers shouldn’t be disturbed, so I walk
quietly. Perhaps their dreams will occur
to me: I hear them in their famished forms.
I know the world won’t end this time,
but I’m super scared, and I’m never clean.
In a week, the streets will clear.
Change is uncomplicated. I can put
your stuff in storage and walk around.
Christa Forster earned an MFA in poetry from the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program, where she studied with Edward Hirsch and Adam Zagajewski and served as poetry editor of Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts. She has won multiple Individual Artist Grants in Literature, attended the Tin House and Naropa Summer Writing workshops, and written for and performed in live bands and theater productions, including several original one-woman shows. Her literary work has been published in print anthologies and in online literary journals. Additionally, her feature work appears in Bluestem, The Broken Plate, Cite Magazine, ellipsis… literature & art, The Houston Chronicle, The New York Times, The Round, Sanskrit, and Sculpture Magazine.